Exhibition captures illustrator's 'Spirit'
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Niko Chocheli, a native of the Republic of Georgia, is so highly regarded as an artist that, in 1997, he was granted permanent resident status by the U.S. government because of his "extraordinary ability in the arts." It's a recognition shared by the likes of cellist Yo-Yo Ma.
The exhibition "Spirit and Whimsy," at the Antiochian Heritage Museum, Ligonier, focuses on his illustrations for children's books. The 75 paintings exhibited were selected from those made for seven books and are being shown together for the first time.
A free public reception for Mr. Chocheli, who lives in Eastern Pennsylvania, will be held from 5 to 7:30 p.m. Friday. His books will be available for purchase and signing.
Mr. Chocheli is recognized critically for his ability to blend Old Master style with ancient iconographic traditions that reflect his Orthodox Christian heritage. He says that he seeks a connection with the ancient customs and traditions of his homeland, attempting to give new life to the folklore and fables of the Caucasus Mountain region.
Publishers' Weekly, declaring the illustrations "highly original," wrote that Mr. Chocheli "mixes Eastern Orthodox icons, apocalyptic beasts and scenes reminiscent of El Greco with the occasional fuzzy kitten. Though his style may appeal more to adults, it may also revive kids who are bored with cheerful cartoon saints in primary colors."
The exhibition continues through February at the Antiochian Village Conference & Retreat Center, six miles north of Ligonier on Route 711. Hours are 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Admission by donation. Information: 724-238-3677 or www.antiochian.org.
The next best thing to going to Cuba this week with a six-member Mattress Factory delegation is to follow the blog, "Viajes Artisticos" ("Artistic Travelers"), that Jeffrey Inscho, museum media and public relations director, is posting on the PG website (http://community.post-gazette.com/blogs/mattressfactory).
The occasion is the opening of the exhibition "Queloides/Keloids: Race and Racism in Cuban Contemporary Art" at the Wifredo Lam Center for Contemporary Art in Havana. When the show closes, exhibiting artists will come to Pittsburgh to create new works in residence for a Mattress Factory fall exhibition.
"The Art of the Steal," a documentary about the controversial move of the suburban Philadelphia Barnes Foundation paintings, has been extended through April 22 at the Manor Theater in Squirrel Hill.
A screening of Chilean films to benefit earthquake victims will be held at 8 p.m. Saturday at Pittsburgh Filmmakers' Melwood Screening Room, 477 Melwood Ave., North Oakland. Works from the 17th International Festival of Short Films, Santiago, will be served up with Chilean food, beverages and "typical intellectual conversation." $10 donation (www.pghfilmmakers.org).
First Published April 14, 2010 12:00 am